True Traditions: Christmas

Continuing talk about family traditions and starting your own…

Ever since I can remember, my mom and dad have bought one ornament for each of us kids every Christmas. I kept my collection in a shoebox I had decorated sometime in pre-school or kindergarten until I was in my teens and there were too many ornaments to fit. Notecards are tucked inside each of our boxes with a description of the ornament and the year we received it, along with a few other lines of information about any ornaments gifted from outside the family over the years.

This will be my twenty-fourth year of receiving an ornament from my parents, which just hit me as absolutely crazy. Twenty-four of the most special gifts I’ve received in my lifetime that they put endless thought into as December 25 draws near. It’s become a tradition to open them on Christmas Eve after all seven of us Lankfords pile back home from Grandma and Grandpa’s cozy house up the road. Our Christmas Eve ornament gifts probably top the list of my favorite holiday traditions.

Of course, all things can’t remain the same forever, and kids grow up and go away. My oldest sister is married now and I’m off on my own, and taking our ornaments with to decorate our own trees. I’ll admit it’s rather bittersweet, hanging old memories on new trees and knowing they won’t be waiting for me at home anymore. Plus, taking fifty ornaments away from our parents’ tree between the two of us leaves a sad and emptier sight behind, which inspired us to start a new tradition a few years ago: we reversed it on our parents.

All five of us kids consult each other before the big day finding the perfect ornaments; one for Mom and one for Dad. We’re old now, we have bank accounts and cars and Christmas shopping lists and are perfectly capable of finding something special for the two most important people in our lives. It’s fun to see my parents’ ornament collection grow along with ours as the years go by.

I love this tradition because it’s still family-oriented even though we don’t live together anymore.  The Lankford kids get to take on some responsibility: we’re spending our money and taking our time to make the ones who gave us life feel special. A lot changes when you get older, and one of those things is you become aware and conscious of what it means to be caring and thoughtful. It’s fun to see that develop in my younger siblings, even in as small a way as gifting our mother and dad the perfect Christmas ornament.  

I've been loving hearing about your holiday traditions with your families! Leave a comment or shoot me an email to share your thoughts on tradition or some special ones that your family has in place...doesn't have to be Christmas, I'd love to hear them all. I'll be posting a round-up of my favorites at the end of the year!